Saturday, June 25, 2005

slandering democrats and denying science

Karl Rove has some kind words about liberals and their reaction to terrorism. Did you know that when the House and Senate combined voted by over 500-1 to send troops to Afghanistan in the wake of the attacks of September 11, that the 240+ Democrats (including many liberals of course) who supported those resolutions thought they were voting for grief counseling, and to establish special centers to make us all love and understand Al Qaeda and the Taliban? The bit about sending troops must've been hidden in a footnote that they all overlooked.

Actually, as Karl said (though not for the reasons he implied), it is true that Democrats (and many Republicans) do want to understand our enemies. Understanding the enemy is a basic precondition to defeating them, and understanding the enemy also gives us a better chance to fend off further attacks and even sometimes to avoid misunderstandings that could convert a neutral party into an enemy, terrorist, or insurgent. If Bush had understood the enemy better he would have known that Iraq was NOT involved in the attacks of September 11 (actually he probably did and just grabbed the at this straw to get support to kill Saddam but that's a whole other psychological/oilman discussion), and Dick Cheney would not have expected Iraqis to greet Americans as liberators.

Whether Bush/Cheney were stupid, deluded, or deceptive in drawing links between Iraq and September 11 I guess is up to the reader; I vote for all three. But this Administration's willful ignorance of the facts is nicely demonstrated in this list of how the White House has played loose with science when the inconvenient facts don't meet the political, financial, or theological needs of the GOP and their supporters.

They don't just alter facts about climate change, which we've seen in the news a lot lately, or stem cells, where the British, Italians, and Koreans to name just three have announced significant new advances in recent weeks. They directly endanger lives by lying about poisons that were afflicting relief workers at the WTC site in New York and by removing information about HIV/AIDS from government websites (in order to promote abstinence, the preferred sexual practice theocons want to inflict on the unmarried). Not to mention the cooked data and absurd assumptions underlying missile defense, which not only is almost certainly incapable of intercepting a North Korean missile (despite the billions spent on it), will also definitely fail to catch a nuclear bomb smuggled into Minneapolis in a U-Haul -- a much likelier scenario.

I have a friend who knows a scientist working in a policy position for the federal government. This scientist guy is incredibly depressed about the effect of the Bush Theo-administration on science in this country, and said the attitude of most scientists is "wait and hope for better in 2009." I'm no scientist, but I'm depressed, too.

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